Showing posts with label cats. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cats. Show all posts

Sep 24, 2018

Have a HART: Himalayan Animal Rescue Trust (Part Two)

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Our new baby Tux tells it like it is.
 In part two of my post on HART (Himalayan Animal Rescue Trust), I'll be sharing with you the first ever feline sterilization day held at the clinic! Our tomcat Spotty was one of the patients being surged upon here in Pokhara. The Himalayan Animal Rescue Trust works to improve the lives of animals throughout Nepal with public education, rescue, treatment, neutering, and anti-rabies vaccination clinics daily.

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No dogs were scheduled to be seen that day at the facility due to potential conflict with feline patients. There were a few canine malingerers outside in the clinic courtyard like this sad fellow wearing his "cone of shame" though.

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And the kitties began arriving for surgery in baskets, bags, and blankets! The only other time there had ever been anything like a kitty sterilization day was in 2010 when HART had just started and we begged them to neuter all 5 of our cats. Back then HART was so busy sterilizing dogs they simply did not have time to deal with cats.

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This lady brought her beloved cat to be spayed in a shopping bag. No Problem! Whatever works!

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Soon the entire waiting area in the office was full of ladies and their cats! It was quite warm on this misty Monsoon morning in late July.  In total there were 5 female cats and two males brought in by their owners for sterilization. I was really amazed because keeping pets is a new thing South Asia and cats aren't particularly well thought of here.

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One by one all the kitties were sedated, shaved, and prepared for surgery. This cat is female so her belly and side have been shorn, washed, and swabbed with Betadine.

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The waiting room became a little jugaadi (make-do) post-surgery recovery room. Flattened cardboard boxes, old newspapers, old towels, and even the owner's shawls were used as blankets and mattresses. This is definitely a "no frills" sort of clinic but it got the job done!

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And then it was our Spotty's turn! He is put in a special cage to receive his injection for sedation. The red plastic coated bars are attached to the floor of the cage which can be lifted to press uncooperative patients' bodies against the side of the cage. When the cat is secured against the side of the cage for injection it is safer for all parties involved.

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It was really heartwarming seeing the love and genuine concern these "pawrents" had for their cats. The lady in the red sweater is the one who brought her cat in a shopping bag. She is cradling her female kitty who just came out of surgery with her shawl.

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A veterinary technician attended the little improvised post-op recovery unit. She oversaw the recoveries diligently.

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Spotty was the third cat to be operated on. Here he is getting his temperature checked by the technician. (He peed on the tech after having his temperature taken.) One other male cat and three more female cats where successfully sterilized that day! YAY!

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Spotty & Tux!
And here's our healthy, happy, and neutered Spotty fully recovered! He's hugging his newly adopted little brother Tux (short for tuxedo.) Tux had a bit of tummy trouble when we first brought him home from Catmandu Lovers Cat Hotel & Spa .  We took Tux for a visit with the vets at HART  and he was soon on the mend!

animal rescue, cats, charity, dogs, HART, himalayan animal rescue team, Nepal, non profit, pokhara, rescue, sterilization, treatment, vaccination,

The important work  Himalayan Animal Rescue Trust is funded solely by donations.  HART needs funds, equipment, expertise and a lot of hard work to make a lasting difference in animals' lives. An online donation can be made here.  Whatever gift you choose will help save animals from suffering and give them the treatment and care they need. Any qualified vets and vet nurses who can volunteer their time and expertise are more than welcome. To find out more about this, please contact Khageshwaar Sharma. If you are traveling to Nepal and can bring a few items, please contact Barbara Webb. The cost of shipping to Nepal is high and delivery is not always certain, so a kindly carrier can assist enormously. Please see HART's "wish list"  for items they always need.

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And meows too!
Any pawrents out there? Tell me about your furbabies!
And how are you on this second day of Autumn? 
We're still scorching at 93F/34C daily although the Monsoon rains have tapered off and balmy breezes have started.
 Bella ciao, Bibi ;)

Sep 10, 2018

Have a HART: Himalayan Animal Rescue Trust (Part One)

HART, himalayan animal rescue team, pokhara, nepal, sterilization, vaccination, animal rescue, dogs, cats, rescue, treatment, charity, non profit,

"No Babies, No Rabies" is the motto of our local nonprofit veterinary charitable organization here in Nepal. The Himalayan Animal Rescue Trust works to improve the lives of animals throughout Nepal with public education, rescue, treatment, neutering, and anti-rabies vaccination clinics daily.

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The Himalayan Animal Rescue Trust was founded in 2010 and is a registered charity based just outside the city of Pokhara, about 200 km from Nepal's capital, Kathmandu. They treat all domestic animals, although most of their patients are dogs. HART strives to build an environment where animals are respected and cared for in their own communities. Through their many educational programs and mobile clinics, they work to eradicate animal distress, disease, neglect, and cruelty in Nepal.


Street dogs are a serious public health and safety menace across India and Nepal. Every year 100 to 200 people die of rabies in Nepal (mostly children) and 35,000 people are treated for dog bites. ( I can't find any numbers on dog maulings of humans or livestock in Nepal but I can say I have seen quite a few in years past.) The normal lifespan of a street dog is estimated to be around three years, due to the dangers of street life most puppies do not survive. It is estimated that there are 22,000 street dogs in the city of Kathmandu alone. In the past, local citizens and city governments here in Nepal would put out meat poisoned with strychnine in attempts to control the street dog population. This is a horrific form of death, throwing the dogs into violent seizures for up to nine hours before they die. The dog carcasses would then be tossed into the nearest river creating a further public health hazard. Thankfully, since the advent of HART and other animal rescue organizations, this inhumane practice has stopped. The mistreatment and neglect of animals in South Asia is really heartbreaking.

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I can recall when I first came to Nepal 20 years ago the packs of feral dogs roaming the street were quite scary. The late-night yowling, growls, barking, and yowls almost made it near impossible to sleep. Today, the street dog situation is vastly improved. Problematic dogs are now captured by a net and transported to the HART clinic for neutering and vaccination.

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This is one of HART's new Mahindra Bolero Campers used to transport both animals and crew members to and from the clinic. If you look carefully at the sticker on the door you can see this vehicle was paid for by Lush's Charity Pot funding program.




Charity Pot is a hand and body lotion made by the UK cosmetics company Lush featuring shea butter, rosewood oil, moringa oil, and ylang-ylang oil. With every purchase of Charity Pot, Lush donates 100% of the price (minus the taxes) to small, grassroots organizations that could use the helping hand to continue the incredible work that they do. It's really great to see those donations put to such good use!

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HART holds anti-rabies vaccination mobile clinics all across Nepal. HART's goal is to vaccinate over 70% of the dog population. This is the level at which statistics determine that the rabies risk to humans becomes minimal. This high level of vaccination coverage is achieved by walking through each ward injecting all the un-immunized animals found. Each jab is recorded in HART's purpose-written mobile phone app. The ward is revisited until the statistics indicate that a minimum of 70% of dogs are vaccinated. The anti-rabies vaccination mobile vaccination clinics are repeated annually and are quite an expensive and time-consuming program.

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HART regularly distributes leaflets on the avoidance of dog bites and rabies information at schools and public events. Basic pet care and respect for animals is also taught to school children in educational programs. HART staff frequently appear at municipal functions to improve public awareness on the humane treatment of animals and the long-term benefits of their sterilization program.

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After the 2012 earthquakes in Nepal HART traveled to the hardest hit region, Sindhupalchowk. The HART team hosted a group of veterinarians from Australia to treat livestock injured in the disaster.  Many livestock animals had been injured suffering everything from broken backs to minor scratches.

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This year the HART team was invited to return to the Everest region to conduct anti-rabies and neutering clinics. That's a long, long way from their home base here in Pokhara. The net, the autoclave, the entire mobile surgery, and a lot of anti-rabies vaccines had to be hauled by human, donkey, and yak up there. Over a hundred dogs were neutered and several vaccinated.







Our beloved kitty Baacha Khan had been feeling poorly, we had to wait for the HART team to return from their trip to the Everest region to take him to clinic. Above you can see him being weighed in on the left. On the right, he's receiving fluids subcutaneously and a blood is drawn for testing. We had to take the blood to a nearby hospital lab to be tested.

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While we were waiting for the results from the blood test I strolled about the open air clinic. As you can see by the sign behind the veterinary technician's head in the above photo the base clinic here in Pokhara is open from 9AM to 2PM daily. (That's only if the team isn't out and about on one of their mobile clinic and vaccination tours.) Having regular daily clinic hours is fairly new, a few years back they were always out about town catching, vaccinating, neutering, and releasing street dogs.

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The operating room for large animals (at least bigger than a cat) is also open air so I watched a dog's wounds being cleaned, debrided, and stitched closed.

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It was amazing to see so many Nepalis bringing their pets to the HART clinic. Pet ownership is fairly new in Nepal and a medical facility that treats pets is a new idea also. These women brought their pet dog to be seen at clinic. He's receiving fluids on a table in the fenced courtyard.

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Another concerned lady brought in a neighborhood street dog in for treatment that had a horrible case of mange. Street dogs often suffer severe skin infections and diseases here in Nepal.

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 A caring new pet owner also brought her healthy dog to clinic to be vaccinated.

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A concerned lady brought in this terribly emaciated pup from her neighborhood. Turns out he has a really bad case of gastritis and can't keep his food down very well.

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A cat! I have never seen anyone bring a cat to the HART clinic besides us. Poor kitty looks to be in bad shape and her owner was quite distraught. People kept bringing animals so they actually had to extend clinic hours that day.


Unfortunately, the Baacha Khan's blood work determined that he was positive for feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) in addition to a severe liver infection and advanced kidney failure. The FIV had destroyed his immune system to the point that he could no longer fight off infection like a normal, healthy cat.  FIV is very rare in western countries but is unfortunately common in South Asia. The controversial FIV vaccine is not available in Nepal yet. To our surprise, HART now offers humane euthanasia at no cost and that is what the veterinarian recommended. So we said goodbye to our best and most handsome kitty and stayed with him until he passed. His Imperial Majesty will always reign supreme in our hearts.

HART, himalayan animal rescue team, pokhara, nepal, sterilization, vaccination, animal rescue, dogs, cats, rescue, treatment, charity, non profit,

The important work  done by Himalayan Animal Rescue Trust is funded solely by donations.  HART needs funds, equipment, expertise and a lot of hard work to make a lasting difference in animals' lives. An online donation can be made here.  Whatever gift you choose will help save animals from suffering and give them the treatment and care they need. Any qualified vets and vet nurses who can volunteer their time and expertise are more than welcome. To find out more about this, please contact Khageshwaar Sharma. If you are traveling to Nepal and can bring a few items, please contact Barbara Webb. The cost of shipping to Nepal is high and delivery is not always certain, so a kindly carrier can assist enormously. Please see HART's "wish list"  for items they always need.

HART, himalayan animal rescue team, pokhara, nepal, sterilization, vaccination, animal rescue, dogs, cats, rescue, treatment, charity, non profit,
To be continued!!!!

Yep, after 50+ day hiatus, I'm back to blogging! Coming at you via a brand-spankin' new fiber optic cable internet connection that's tripping the light fantastic too! Hope all is well with you and yours and I look forward to sharing my adventures with y'all just as soon as I get my photos sorted and about 3 tonnes of laundry done. And of course, I've got lots more new recipes to post!
So how have you been?
What's your favorite animal-related charity?
Anyone else go abroad for their summer vacation? Do share!
Whew,
Bibi  ;)

Oct 30, 2017

Rest in Peace, Ms Chinger


It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of the great matriarch of our kitty clan, Ms Chinger.  Our very own mother of the multititudes was taken from us on Sunday afternoon after a brief illness. She will be fondly remembered for her cantankerousness, fearlessness, bravery, badassery, and love. 


Last Thursday night Ms Chinger suddenly took a turn for the worse. What we thought was just a mild case of the sniffles careened into severe vomiting, diarrhea, a sudden drop in body temperature, jaundice, and a marked lack of appetite. All the vets' clinics were closed in our district until Sunday so we had to improvise. We gave her the standard SC and IV fluids and an IM dose of antibiotics to see if we could revive her or at least stabilize her until we could get to a vet. Above you see Bibi's jugaadi (makeshift) hydration station. A window over a comfy sofa or chair makes a great IV bag hanger.


On Sunday we took Ms Chinger across town to the Himalayan Animal Rescue Trust (HART) when they opened fearing the worst as she was not improving. Her temperature had dropped and she had become unresponsive. The vet determined that Ms Chinger was suffering severe kidney failure that was not treatable. We choose to have her euthanized rather than have her endure a slow and painful death.


Here's one of the last photos of her in good health from last week. Ms Chinger and her son the Baacha Khan are accosting a baby snake. The snake lost. The Baacha Khan was bored after about three minutes with the snake, Ms Chinger pursued it for about 20 minutes before snapping it in two. Despite her diminutive size Ms Chinger was not afraid of anything. Dogs, buffaloes, snakes, crows, loud noises- nothing fazed this cat! I've seen her run underneath buffaloes, smack snakes in the face, and even swat dogs around.


Ms Chinger is yelling at me here, "It's time for LUNCH!!!" in all her crabby glory. Regardless of her myriad health problems over the years she loved to eat. She never missed a meal! It was amazing how much buffalo meat she could eat- more than our other two cats combined. Smoked chicken breast was her favorite food. She was also very vocal. If the water dish was empty, a meal was late in coming, or she needed the door opened you would be told LOUDLY.


Ms Chinger came to us in the most peculiar way. Two giggling little girls tossed her over our front gate when she was a kitten then ran away. Cats are considered bad luck in Nepal, black cats especially so. Little Chinger was so small I wondered if she'd even been weaned when I found her mewing in the driveway. Her hair was missing on her tail and nose due to some nasty mange-like skin infection. Her scaly and bald nose and tail made her look more like a rat than a cat so we named her "Ratty," or "Chinger" in Nepali.


Little Chinger allowed me to put medicine on her nose and tail and soon she was healed. She ate like a champ even though she was barely bigger than the palm of my hand. At about 8 months of age she went into heat for he first time. I explained to the Sheikh that we needed to get her spayed or she'd start crank out babies nonstop. The Sheikh did not believe me. Responsible pet keeping and care is not yet  popular in South Asia.


And so Ms Chinger cranked out litters in rapid succession. We had kittens up the wazoo. The kittens had kittens. The neighbor complained about cats coming into their houses. The hospital complained that cats were coming into patients' rooms! Ms Chinger herself routinely got stuck upon the neighbors' roof and would yowl until rescued- usually between midnight and 2 AM. I was tired of cleaning 5 litter boxes daily. We called the Himalayan Animal Rescue Trust (HART) but they did not spay cats, only dogs. We begged and pleaded with them to spay our ever growing kitty clan. Finally they had an American doctor visit that would neuter our cats! Our cats were the first ever in our town to be spayed.


Tikka and His Imperial Majesty the Baacha Khan are the only two surviving children of Ms Chinger. There was a distemper-like virus that killed about half of them. I gave three of them to the children of the owners of our local cold store. Some nasty neighbors strangled 5 of her kittens when they were about 4 months old and wandering in a nearby field and threw them in our driveway. 


Here's Ms Chinger in happier times snuggling by the heater with her son and daughter. This was taken last Winter. Ms Chinger was not our first furbaby but was the kitty that had been with us the longest. (We had another black female cat named Gooli but Ms Chinger beat the crap out of her regularly so she ran away.) As mean as Ms Chinger could be to other kitties and varmints she was quite gentle with children and allowed them to handle and pet her quite readily. She loved a good chin scratch too.
Seems kind of fitting that our spooky little black cat should leave us around Hallow's Eve.
Rest in peace, Ms Chinger.


Nov 18, 2016

Shine on, Super Moon


This is  Bibi's attempt at artistically photographing the recent the perigee-syzygy of the Earth–Moon–Sun system. According to some folks the pull of this close brush with the moon is affecting all our brains as well as causing earthquakes. Who knows? Everything's been so nutty lately maybe they're right.


And here's the last of this year's moonflowers in keeping with today's lunar theme. I still am amazed every time they open. It looks like someone ironed those perfect pleats in those gloriously huge eight inch blossoms.


These are our resident lunatics having a love-in of sorts. Mama Chinger is looking quite content atop her daughter Tikka on the bottom left and His Imperial Majesty the Baacha Khan on the bottom right.


Box + Cats = Bliss.


Yes, this is the way HIM the Baacha Khan sleeps. So much for regal mien, eh?


And lastly, HIM the Baacha Khan decided to try on the gardener's backpack. Something about HIM's expression reminds me of Ben Stiller in Zoolander. FIERCE.

That's all the lunacy going around here up at the Himalayan Hovel. Modi's ill thought out demonetisation is wreaking havoc across the subcontinent RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PEAK TOURIST SEASON. I'm not even daring to think about what's next in this wacky world.
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